Monday, August 31, 2009

Maine Camping

Good Morning,

The fog is lifting slowly this morning. The gulls and ducks and Heron have been active since sunrise around six. The night was peaceful and reflective in my tent along the shore near Freeport on the coast of Maine. I've been here for four days of camping with my family and teenage twin grandaughters before they head off to another year of school activities, sports, chums and friends. And I might add with a touch of reluctance, "Facebook."

For the first time in human history we are in danger of having a generation of youngsters who have never experienced what we call nature, who have never spent quality time in what we affectionately call the “outdoors”. Read Richard Louv's book, "Last Child In The Woods."

It is possible, if we keep going the way we are, many children may never hear wild bird calls, sleep in a tent, paddle a canoe, fish, hunt, or understand the myriad of kingdoms that exist within the forest canopy and also under the leaves of the forest floor and how we have a symbiotic relationship in mutual survival.

To me that is a sadness beyond understanding. I share the goals of the Children and Nature Network an organization started by Mr. Louv and I hope that every child, young and old, will experience what I do every time I take a walk in the woods or set up camp for a few days with nature.

My walk began at ocean's shore, beneath a summer sky
The morning air was crisp; the dew to soon drip-dry.
I looked around at nature knowing I would find
Her rhythm in a rock, and reason in her rhyme.

I heard it first, on the path, walking, slowly not too far.
It faded in and out of mind, like a distant twinkling star.
Then louder came its gentle tone, uniquely humming mild;
When tuning clear to natures sound, your spirit is beguiled.

You know it in the sparkle of a trickling tiara stream
That slides o’er stone and granite bead crowning Gaia queen.
You feel it in the wilting wind with all its names that please,
“Refreshing,” “Cooling,” “Gentle,” special kinds of breeze.

You see it in the flora and the rainbows of the flower,
As blossoms burst with color, in a natural sculptured bower.
You taste it in her breath when fragrance fills the air,
With tiny pollens of her heart, perfumes of scented prayer.

Nature’s essence is profound; her truth comes when you listen,
To the dew that’s on the grass and hear the sunlight glisten.
Squinting crystals in the bright that hide when it is warm,
Returning precious liquid life in shower and in storm.

I found it tiny, on the ground, in trails of hurried ants.
I found it too, among the herbs and healing medicine plants.
I find it often in the trees, amid a darting of delight
As playful fluttering feathered ones put magic in their flight.

There are other things to know, from the silence of her breach,
And heed the wise and warning shrill of the Owl’s casting screech.
Nature’s sound speaks many tongues to tell us there is trouble
For in the print of humankind, the future reeks in rubble.

But on this day, I shall not dwell on the ablutionary bad,
For it would change my wooded walk and make my smile sad.
In all my walks, on many paths, even ones without a tree,
I choose to find the joy of life, for nature lives in me.


Gabi K said...

Mr Smith, I wonder if the CD with your poems is still available and if, do you know where?
I remember you reciting your wonderful poems at the Windstar Symposium in 1995 but I never got hold the CD.

Nature Baybee said...

I'm rereading Last Child in the Woods right now. Good on you for getting out in nature and taking the grandkids with you.

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